Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande, Florida.
The arrival of the new year always makes us think about wiping the slate clean and recommitting to a self-care regimen. And as we close out what has been a challenging 2020, a little rest and restoration might be just what the doctor ordered. We asked our editors across the country to recommend the wellness havens they return to time and time again for a refresh. Whether your idea of rejuvenation is lazing by the beach or pool, taking in a round of golf, adventuring, enjoying pampering spa treatments, or simply being ensconced in a beautiful environment, we’ve got you covered.
DESTINATION: Gasparilla Inn and Club
LOCATION: Boca Grande, Florida
ABOUT THE DESTINATION: Set on one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, the Gasparilla Inn invites guests to experience their ideal vacation—whether they’re into adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both. From golf and kayaking to spa treatments and bicycle tours of town, the Gasparilla has something for everyone.
WHAT OUR EDITOR SAYS: “The Gasparilla Inn is truly a little slice of heaven. It is the pinnacle of old Florida luxury that offers an island experience like no other,” says Nikki Logan Curran, editor of The Scout Guide Sarasota, Anna Maria Island to Boca Grande. “While I’ve vacationed at the resort many times, my stay during the Inn’s Wellness Experience was one of the most inspirational and transformational weekends of my life. I immersed myself in the abundance of activities, lectures and spa treatments but most importantly, I learned some truly valuable healthy living tips that I still use to this day. The weekend’s schedule left plenty of time to explore the island and soak up the sun on the white sandy beaches. I’ve been back several times since and have left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated… just what we all need!”
DESTINATION: The Umstead Hotel & Spa
LOCATION: Cary, North Carolina
ABOUT THE DESTINATION: The Umstead Spa celebrates nature with a serene wellness experience distinctive to its North Carolina woodland setting. From organic botanical treatments to a signature product line, the spa draws inspiration from the region’s flora.
WHAT OUR EDITOR SAYS: “The Umstead is a true jewel in the Triangle. In addition to being a beautiful, aspirational hotel for locals to stay-cate and lucky out-of-towners to stay, The Umstead has a wonderful James Beard-nominated chef, and it’s home to the best spa,” reports Hopie Avery, editor of The Scout Guide Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. “Every January, my mom, sister, and I visit for spa day. I get there as soon as the kids are dropped off at school and hit the steam room, whirlpool, (I love the outdoor whirlpool with the crisp, cool air!) and sauna to get toasty, all before going for my treatment—usually a massage or facial. After all that ‘hard work’ we follow up with a yummy lunch at Herons.”
DESTINATION: The Cavalier Resort
LOCATION: Virginia Beach, Virginia
ABOUT THE DESTINATION: The Cavalier Resort is the crown jewel of the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Included on the property are two luxury hotels, one being the historic Cavalier Hotel and the other the brand new Marriott on the oceanfront. The place for pampering is at the SeaHill Spa, a 6200 square-foot escape which features nine treatment rooms, soaking tubs, and a spa retail boutique.
WHAT OUR EDITOR SAYS: “The Cavalier Resort is truly the best choice on Virginia Beach,” says Mary Kaufman, editor of The Scout Guide Tidewater—Virginia Beach & Norfolk. “In addition to gazing at the beach and enjoying oceanside cabanas, the Cavalier Beach Club also has a gorgeous oceanfront infinity pool, and lovely seaside bar. After a morning at the beach, afternoon at SeaHill Spa, and dinner at Becca’s, I feel fully rejuvenated.”
DESTINATION: The Grand Hotel Golf, Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
LOCATION: Fairhope, Alabama
ABOUT THE DESTINATION: On the Gulf Coast of Alabama, surrounded by beautiful Mobile Bay, lies a hidden jewel, rich with tradition, alive with activity and overflowing with generous hospitality—the famous Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa. Set on 550 acres of stunning natural beauty, the Grand is a modern sanctuary of golf, tennis, beach, pools, and spa—an enchanted destination filled with gracious Southern charm.
WHAT OUR EDITOR SAYS: “The Grand Hotel is not just the perfect place for a relaxing staycation or getaway, it is also one of the most unique resorts you will ever visit,” shares Katie McNeil, co-editor of The Scout Guide Mobile Bay. “Here you’ll find huge mossy oaks, unbelievable sunsets, and even fascinating historical elements, like watching the shooting of the cannon every day at the same time in honor of the Battle of Mobile Bay during World War II. There is something for everyone—a world class pool for kids, as well as other water and land activities, golfing, a spa, several restaurants, and it’s all a quick drive to downtown Fairhope to enjoy shopping and taking in the sites.”
DESTINATION: Naples Bay Resort
LOCATION: Naples, Florida
ABOUT THE DESTINATION: With luxurious accommodations, endless recreation, exquisite dining options, and proximity to outstanding Florida shopping, Naples Bay Resort has it all. The Spa at Naples Resort & Marina offers a list of holistic therapies using only the most natural of minerals, lotions, and oils. Steam rooms, a sauna, aqua lounges, and an outdoor adults-only pool complete the treasures of this Naples spa.
WHAT OUR EDITOR SAYS: “Naples has been named America’s happiest, healthiest destination for the last four years in a row. With tennis, swimming, a state-of-the-art gym, spa and sauna, all in one spot, Naples Bay Resort is the perfect choice for a wellness retreat,” explains Jennifer Adams, editor of The Scout Guide Naples. “Beyond that, its picturesque waterfront location overlooking the marina is the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida. I’ve had a lot of hot stone massages, and the one at The Spa at Naples Bay Resort is far and away the best!”
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these establishments might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.